Parking warden abuse in Sheffield is ’getting worse’

Sheffield City Council Parking Services warden Gareth Barrett.
Sheffield City Council Parking Services warden Gareth Barrett.
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Irate drivers have attacked and threatened parking wardens in Sheffield – and even fired fireworks at their cars.

Frontline enforcement workers enforcing the Sheffield Council’s parking policies say they face daily verbal – and frequent physical – threats as they go about their jobs.

Police were called in nearly 60 times to assist wardens last year – compared with 36 incidents in 2010.

Last month a woman who had been fined on Ecclesall Road told two female wardens she would ‘run them over’, while a firework was fired at a warden’s car in separate incident.

Parking warden Gareth Barrett said: “A firework was fired at one of our cars.”

Luckily the window was closed because that’s where the firework exploded.

“You can understand people being a bit angry, but they can really blow up.

“I know one warden was assaulted a year or two ago in Highfields by a bystander that took exception to the officer.

“We do report everything to try to make it stop, but it is getting worse.

“We are looking at getting some body cameras so hopefully that will stop a lot of it.”

The council says prosecutions against people who assault wardens are ‘very rare’, although it does not keep figures regarding arrests.

Gareth, who has done the job for two years, was himself threatened in Hillsborough Park by a dad who had parked without a ticket in a pay-and-display zone.

He said: “He went wild, threatening to kick my teeth in with his hands up in the air.

“We’ve had training to deal with those situations, so it’s just a case of keeping your distance.

“When there is anything as violent as that, we contact the police. Afterwards the man said he didn’t know what had come over him and wanted to apologise.”

Brian Curry, assistant operations manager in parking services at Sheffield Council, said enforcement officers played an ‘important role’.

He said: “I understand people can often feel frustrated when they receive a ticket, but it is never acceptable to then verbally abuse or assault enforcement officers who are simply doing their job.

“People should not have to cope with feeling threatened at work and we will involve the police if necessary to deal with such behaviour.

“Once a penalty charge notice is issued, the enforcement officer cannot withdraw it, so acting aggressively towards them will only worsen the situation.

“If someone feels they have been wrongly issued with a penalty, they must challenge this through the correct channels.”